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Enjoy Snacking Even More During Snack Food Month

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN |Nutrition Supervisor

Nutrition comes in all forms, colors, and quality. Most of the time we think of snack food as something less healthy and make our major meals the place to get all those good nutrients we need like proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. But snacks have a place in healthy lifestyle, especially during National Snack Food Month!

Here are some benefits of snacking and recommendations for fun and satisfying snacks.

Benefits of snacking

  1. Satisfying hunger: Being hungry between meals is not a bad thing! If you body is signaling hunger it usually means it is time to eat. But listen to your body. If you started eating at night because it’s a habit, or turn to a snack during a stressful day, your body might be looking for another form of self-care.
  2. Controlling blood sugars: Diabetes or not, it is important to maintain your blood sugars throughout the day. If we go too long between meals without eating, we risk having our blood sugars drop which can cause shakiness, sweating, lightheadedness, and anxiety. Leave no more than 3-4 hours between eating is recommended.
  3. Meeting calorie and nutrient needs: While calories do not need to be counted every day for most people, remember that all of our organs and body systems need enough calories every day to function properly. We can help by eating enough throughout the day and including good portions of each food group at our meals. Snacks supplement our needs between meals like an extra serving of a fruit, vegetable, or something from the list below.

The best snack choices

Whatever you like! It is best to make pairings just how we do for meals – if we just eat something like chips or celery on its own it won’t keep us full for long. Instead choose a base of a protein or healthy fat which will make the snack more filling. Here are some great examples:

  • String Cheese
  • Turkey Jerky
  • Trail Mix or any type of nut or seed
  • Hummus + Veggies
  • Avocado Toast
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Natural Peanut Butter + Celery Stalks + Raisins
  • Cottage Cheese + Veggies or Fruit
  • Edamame
  • Greek Yogurt + Fruit or Peanut Butter
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (plain yogurt with garlic powder, dill, chives, and paprika)
  • Brown Rice Cake + Almond, Peanut, or Sunflower Butter
  • Smoothie (protein base of yogurt, soy milk, protein powder, then add any fruit or vegetable)
banana and peanut butter snacks

Try some the NOAH Nutrition Services team’s favorite snacks:

Banana and Peanut Butter Bites – this snack is quick, easy, and full of protein and potassium (among other nutrients) to help you feel full.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – this flavorful snack is filling and gives a great kick to keep you satisfied for a while.

Oatmeal Energy Bites – these little bites pack a punch of flavor and energy to start your day or get you through a busy afternoon.

Visit our NOAH recipe page for more snack and meal ideas!

Know More About Sugar

By Brandon Bolton, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

This week is Sugar Awareness Week. It is a time to spread awareness and prevalence of sugar and the damaging too much sugar can have our bodies. During Sugar Awareness Week, we should set a few goals to help reduce how much sugar we eat and drink – especially with added sugar. A great place to start is to understand sugar a little more. These healthy habits can carry forward for the rest of the year!

Natural sugars are found in foods such as fruit and milk. Added sugars are found in processed foods like soda, fruit juice, candy, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, condiments, and much more. A diet high in added sugars can cause weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, fatty liver disease, and much more.

The American Heart Association recommends most women consume no more than 24 grams of added sugars (6 teaspoons) daily, and men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar (9 teaspoons) daily. Children ages 2-18 should try to eat less than 24 grams of added sugar daily. For reference, the average person in the United States consumes around 71 grams of added sugar per day (17 teaspoons). Be sure to check your food label to get a better understanding of how much sugar is in your food.

Here are some tips on how to decrease your intake of added sugars:

  • Swap sodas, juices, sweetened teas, and energy drinks for water or unsweetened seltzers.
  • Drink your coffee black or use a zero-calorie sweetener such as Stevia.
  • Try plain yogurt and add fresh or frozen berries.
  • Consume whole fruits and vegetables instead of sugar-sweetened smoothies.
  • Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
  • Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
  • Look for cereals, granolas, and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Use natural nut butters instead of sweet spreads like Nutella.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar, or agave.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
  • Try to prepare meals at home, it can be hard to tell how much sugar is in foods when eating out.
  • Consume a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Check nutrition labels to see how much sugar is in your product.

If you have any questions regarding sugar or any other nutrition related concerns, please reach out to one of NOAH’s Registered Dietitians!

Back to School Health Tips – Snacking the Easy Way by Mina Goodman, RDN

Whether this year means heading back to school physically, via video from home, or both, getting back into the routine of classes can take some time to get adjusted to. Here are some tips for making healthy eating quick and easy. Snacks can be a simple way to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins throughout the day.
Vegetables can easily be eaten raw with or without a topping/dip (salad dressing, bean dips, nut butters, salsa, guacamole). You can choose to cut your own (cheaper) or buy pre-cut, based on your budget and schedule.

  • Broccoli trees
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks – add some nut butter and raisins for “ants on a log”
  • Cucumber coins
  • Jicama sticks
  • Peppers – red, green or yellow
  • Snap peas
  • Snow peas
  • String beans
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini slices

Fruits are a sweet treat without any added sugars. If you are choosing canned options, look for fruit that is labeled as in its own juice, if that is not available, try a fruit in light syrup instead of heavy syrup and rinse the fruit before eating.

  •  Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes – red, green, or purple
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Don’t forget whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins! After you check out the produce section for what is available, take a look at the inner aisles of the supermarket for these options:

  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Canned fruit (in 100% juice or water)
  • Dried fruit – try raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries, and fruit leathers with little or no added sugar
  • Frozen fruit (check the label to be sure there is just fruit and no added sugar in the bag)
  • Whole wheat English muffins, pita, or tortillas
  • Breakfast cereals – choose whole grain, low-sugar options like Cheerios, Grape-Nuts, Raisin Bran or Mini-Wheats
  • Whole grain crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins
  • Popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus
  • Roasted chickpeas